Yamaha has historically set the standard for reasonably-priced monitoring speakers, with several of their studio speakers becoming extremely popular with recording engineers worldwide. Yamaha is aiming to become the industry standard once again with their new HS model range. We found the Yamaha HS7 to be another impressive studio monitoring speaker. Before we tell you why, let’s take a quick look at the history of its predecessor, the Yamaha NS10.
The Yamaha NS10 was launched in 1978 as a domestic hi-fi speaker, and many engineers initially described it as being just another bad-sounding home hi-fi speaker. Bob Clearmountain, a reputable producer and engineer working on some of the largest projects, is often credited for popularizing the NS10. Normally, a bad-sounding speaker wouldn’t become an industry standard, but the NS10 is special; Bob Clearmountain realized that the NS10 had the ability to reveal shortcomings in recordings. Other recording engineers followed his lead, and soon it became a reference benchmark for a bad-sounding speaker, such that most recording studios around the world adopted the NS10 as their standard reference studio monitoring speakers. Other engineers that are known for using the NS10 include Rhett Davies, Nigel Jopson, and Bill Scheniman, as well as Grammy-awarded engineers Andy Wallace, Charles Dye, Dave Pensado, Brendan O’Brien and Tom & Chris Lord-Alge. The NS10 was eventually discontinued in 2001.
While the new HS range is considered to be the NS10’s successors, it should be noted that they’re two very different speakers. The white cones may look similar, but the HS7 has so much more to offer than its predecessor. Speaker technology has come a long way since the original NS10 was released in 1978, and Yamaha have responded to the need to release a product that is far superior to the original NS10 in order to be competitive in today’s studio monitoring speaker market.
Features of the HS7 monitoring speakers
The Yamaha HS7 is a bi-amplified studio monitor designed for accurate sound reproduction. Its bass frequency response is listed at 43 Hz, claiming to go all the way to 30 Hz, which is beyond the average specs found in speakers in the same price range and size.
It has the iconic white woofer cone of the NS10, causing some to mistake it for the latter. It’s 6.5” cone woofer delivers smooth audio performance further enhanced by a mounting system that rids of spurious vibration and resonance. Its 1” dome tweeter is designed to reduce losses, which is designed to allow high-frequency details to come through with accuracy. Furthermore, the tweeter frame constructed to reduce resonances that may interfere with high-end clarity. All this results in a remarkably accurate and smooth sounding response throughout the audio spectrum.
You probably already know that speaker response may significantly vary depending on the shape, size and surface acoustics of the room they’re used in, as well as how they are set up within that environment. With the HS7, you get extra speaker placement versatility and room-matching with Room Control, Mid EQ and High Trim response control switches designed to make up for common acoustic shortcomings and monitoring needs. The Room Control (-0, -2 dB or -4dB from 500 Hz and below) switch can make up for the unnatural low-end exaggeration that can happen when the speaker is placed near a wall or in corners. The High Trim (-0 dB, +2 dB or -2dB from 2 kHz and above) switch provides the same kind of response-tailoring capability for the high frequencies. Lastly, the MID EQ switch provides you with flat response and subtle midrange boost and cut options. While the rear mounted port is not desirable in smaller studios due to wall proximity effects, Yamaha have done their best to compensate for it.
As for connectivity, the HS7 has XLR, TS and 1/4” TSR input that accept both balanced and unbalanced signals. It should be noted that the XLR and TSR connections, which are labeled Input 1 and 2 respectively, cannot be used simultaneously.
In terms of performance, the Yamaha HS7 studio speakers truly sound excellent. Their sound is very neutral and true to the original so you’ll have the peace of mind that your results will sound good on whatever you play your recordings or mixes on. Additionally, they have great stereo imaging and they deliver smooth, accurate and detailed bass. The bass is deep enough to work perfectly fine without a subwoofer, which is a good thing since subs have a tendency to complicate the sound. The Yamaha HS7, however, does sound great when used with a subwoofer. And while the high frequencies may not sound as detailed as expensive monitors, it should be noted that at their price point, the Yamaha HS7 studio monitors perform incredibly well. Even as you listen to them for a long time, your ears will not suffer from ear fatigue.
|Power output||95W (35 W high/60 W Low)|
|Dimensions||8.3” x 13.1” x 11.2”|
If you need to set up the speaker closer than 4.5 ft to the back wall, you can try using the Room Control switch to reduce increases in bass.
When teamed with a sub (should you decide you need even more bass), the HS7 works well when using the default 100Hz crossover setting.
Studio-Speakers.com aren’t the only ones impressed with the Yamaha HS7. On various websites, the speaker has ratings of no less than 4 stars. Other reviewers have also praised them:
“Clear, true sound, deep enough bass to mean no subwoofer required in most circumstances, and realistically priced for any ambitious DJ / producer, we can find nothing to fault on the Yamaha HS7s. Highly recommended.”Phil Morse, founder and editor of Digital DJ Tips
“With the new HS series, Yamaha certainly has winners on their hands. And I really appreciate that they’ve listened to their customers and offered a 6.5-inch configuration for those of us who don’t have large control rooms where an 8-inch speaker might be more appropriate. The HS7 simply sounds the way a studio monitor should sound, revealing, honest, and accurate, without the hype that leads to dodgy mixes.”Matthew Loel T. Hepworth, a music technology teacher who consults for Steinberg, Yamaha, Lexicon, and Tascam
Overall, the Yamaha HS7 is an impressive studio monitoring speaker. The sound is very natural and uncolored, which is perfect for achieving well balanced and neutral mixes. It’s small enough to be practical but large enough to pack enough bass punch to eliminate the need for a subwoofer. At its price level, it’s more than just a great choice for any ambitious musician, recording engineer, producer or DJ looking to upgrade.
If you already have them, we’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
Overall, the Yamaha HS7 is an impressive studio monitoring speaker and offers excellent value for money
- Neutral and uncolored sound
- Great bass response
- Excellent value for money
- The rear-mounted port prevents optimal placement in smaller studios